This episode is sponsored by Clariti.
Welcome to episode 386 of The Food Blogger Pro Podcast! This week on the podcast, Bjork interviews Matt Ragland about getting the most out of your email marketing strategy.
Last week on the podcast, Bjork chatted with Ashley Covelli from Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen about teaching cooking classes as a food creator. To go back and listen to that episode, click here.
Getting the Most Out of Your Email Marketing Strategy
If you’re already creating content for your blog or social media, another great place to share that content is via email. And that’s what we’re chatting about today with Matt Ragland!
Matt has years of experience in the world of email marketing, and in this interview, you’ll hear what he learned working at ConvertKit, why email marketing is so powerful, his best tips for getting more people to sign up for your email list, and how he helps creators develop high-converting weekly email newsletters.
Whether you’re looking to get started with email marketing or take your current email marketing strategy to the next level, we know you’ll have so many takeaways from this conversation!
In this episode, you’ll learn:
- What Matt learned working at ConvertKit
- Why he recommends leaning into a niche
- How he helps creators with email marketing
- Why email marketing is so powerful
- How to effectively share blog posts via email
- How to get more people to sign up for your email list
- Why he recommends creating a welcome series
- How broadcasts and newsletters differ from sequences
- His best tips for getting started with email marketing
- Matt’s website
- Learn more about Matt’s email marketing service, Automatic Evergreen
- Connect the Dots Podcast
- Story Signals Podcast
- Michael Hyatt’s website
- Corbett Barr
- Chris Guillebeau
- Smart Passive Income
- Follow Matt on YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter
- Join the Food Blogger Pro Podcast Facebook Group
About This Week’s Sponsor
We’re excited to announce that this week’s episode is sponsored by our sister site, Clariti!
With Clariti, you can easily organize your blog content for maximum growth. Create campaigns to add alt text to your posts, fix broken images, remove any broken links, and more, all within the Clariti app.
Sign up for Clariti today to receive:
- Access to their limited-time $45 Forever pricing
- 50% off your first month
- Optimization ideas for your site content
- An invitation to join their exclusive Slack community
- And more!
If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions for interviews, be sure to email them to [email protected].
Transcript (click to expand):
Bjork Ostrom: This episode is sponsored by Clariti, C-L-A-R-I-T-I. I kid you not, I was going to record this half an hour ago, but I was in Clariti and realized there’s an opportunity for Pinch of Yum that is a project we should move forward with. So I created a video, communicated it with the Pinch of Yum team and said, “Hey, we should move forward on this and really get to work cleaning this up.” In our case, what I had done is I said, “Hey, show me all of the posts in the past year on Pinch of Yum.” Then I sort ordered that in reverse order by page views. So I was looking at pages on Pinch of Yum in the last year got zero page views.
Bjork Ostrom: I realized we have a lot of really thin, not valuable content and it’s important to clean that up. In our case, we’re going to delete a lot of that content and we should have done that a long time ago, but we just didn’t get around to it. It wasn’t until I was using Clariti that I realized that that was something that we should have done. I was able to see that. It’s a lot of old giveaway posts and things like that. So we’re going to move forward with that and clean up Pinch of Yum. That’s what Clariti is for.
Bjork Ostrom: It’s to help you discover that actionable information to create a project around it, and either you can follow the project or you can assign it to somebody within your team and then track the impact that that has by making notes or seeing when you made those changes over time. We bring all the information in from WordPress, Google Search Console and Google Analytics. You hook it all up and then you can sort order and use Clariti, kind of like a Swiss Army knife for your content. So if you’re interested in checking it out, go to clariti.com/food, C-L-A-R-I-T-I.com/food and that will get you 50% off your first month. Thanks to Clariti for sponsoring this episode.
Bjork Ostrom: Hello, hello, this is Bjork Ostrom and you’re listening to the Food Blogger Pro Podcast. Today we are talking to Matt Ragland, and Matt has a lot of experience in the world of email. As you know, email’s really important. We talk about it every so often here on the podcast. Matt’s going to be talking about his early days at ConvertKit, he was one of the early employees at ConvertKit, the things that he learned while he was there and then how he took a lot of the learnings that he’s had from these roles that he’s had with different startup companies, successful startup companies, and how he rolled that into a service that he’s now offering publishers all around weekly newsletters and scaling those up and making sure that you have these consistent touch points with your email subscribers and why that’s so important.
Bjork Ostrom: So we’re going to be talking not only about Matt’s story, but also how you as a creator can think strategically about email and fold that into the process that you have for your blog and for your business. Let’s go ahead and jump in. Matt, welcome to the podcast.
Matt Ragland: Hey, Bjork. It’s great to be here. Thanks for having me.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, yeah, thanks. Fellow podcaster. So before we jump in, talk a little bit about your podcast because, for anybody watching on video, you’ll see the official setup. You’ve got some sound dampening behind you. You’ve got the mic. So you are a podcaster. Tell us a little bit about your podcast.
Matt Ragland: Yes, so I have several different things that I do on content and media, but the podcast that I have, it’s actually on hiatus right now, but my podcast is called Connect the Dots with Matt Ragland. It’s about productivity, idea systems taking action. The very first podcast I ever did was called Story Signals and that was a great way to meet some really cool people like Nathan Barry and James Clear. But yeah, so I actually just made this upgrade to the Shure MV7.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, sounds great.
Matt Ragland: Thanks. It’s been a long time coming. For anyone who thinks you need a podcast mic like this, I, for years, years like eight years, use the same ATR2100 little micro USB.
Bjork Ostrom: Sure.
Matt Ragland: It’s still at home and that’s like my backup mic now. But yeah, I love podcasts. I love listening to podcasts, maybe a little too much. But I love the medium and I appreciate you having me on.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. So you mentioned content as kind of a focus for what you do. Creators, the media world, and then also we’re going to be talking about how all of those things wrap up into the world of monetization and how to think strategically about creating an income from those things. So when would you say would be kind of the genesis for you on your journey into that world?
Matt Ragland: It was about 10 years ago at this point. I was reading the early parts of the now creator economy internet. So I was reading Copyblogger and Pro Blogger. I was reading sites like the Michael Hyatt blog and Jeff Goins’ Here in Nashville. I remember just the Fizzle guys, Corbett Barr, all that stuff. So that was really my intro to the world of blogging digital products, Chris Guillebeau, of course one of the GOATs. So I started writing myself. I had a blog, just mattragland.com. It’s still there. But I went through the whole thing, picked out a theme and I set up my blog on WordPress and I bought the domain and I learned how to install multiple WordPress themes and I got too caught up in thinking about which theme really represented my voice.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, totally. That as all of us have done.
Matt Ragland: That doesn’t happen anymore. Yeah. We’ve totally moved past that. So that was about 10 years ago. I tried a bunch of different content mediums. In between, like I mentioned before, I had a podcast. 2014, I did about 30 episodes, 30 interviews. It just wasn’t the right time for that. But I started email marketing around then as well. I was one of the early ConvertKit users and then became one of the early ConvertKit employees the way I always timestamped joining ConvertKit because I was the fifth teammate to join ConvertKit, and then somebody got fired not long after, so I kind of feel like I was almost the fourth.
Bjork Ostrom: Fourth?
Matt Ragland: But I think I was the 300th person to sign up for a ConvertKit account.
Bjork Ostrom: Wow.
Matt Ragland: They’re the tens of thousands of users now and then I joined the team not long after. But I joined the Monday after Pat Flynn, that’s another guy, lots of SPI back in the day.
Bjork Ostrom: That’s right. Smart Passive Income, another podcast and a site. Yeah.
Matt Ragland: But the Monday after he published his blog post, Why I switched from AWeber to InfusionSoft to ConvertKit, we had a flood. I had just met Nathan not too long before that and we had talked a little bit, then Pat really said they had a ton of new signups. He’s like, “maybe you could help with some customer support?” Because I had built some things online and I had a familiarity with the product that at that point very few people had. So yeah, I joined the team in October, 2015.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. And was there for four years. Got to see a lot of that growth. Also worked at Podia. Can you explain what Podia is for those who aren’t familiar?
Matt Ragland: Yeah. Podia is a course platform. They’re really become more of an all in one since I left. But most people use it or recognize it as a course platform similar to Teachable, Kajabi, but they were rolling out email marketing while I was there. They’ve also introduced memberships and they have a free plan now. They have a pretty capable site builder at this point too. So a lot of cool stuff that Podia does and I was there for almost two years.
Bjork Ostrom: Sure. In that experience, your own experience learning, growing your own thing, ConvertKit, Podia. Now on your own, building your own business. You’ve seen a lot. There’s a throughline and it’s working with creators who are publishing things online. So you’ve had a ton of exposure to that world. I’m curious to know if you could distill it down to some of the throughlines that you’ve seen with some of the people on the respective platforms that you’d be able to identify as like, “Hey, this is something I continually see coming up as an identifiable characteristic or behavior of people who have traction or success, whatever that looks like.” Would you be able to pinpoint what some of those things might be?
Matt Ragland: Yeah, two that come to mind over and over again. I think it’s still very applicable even as much as the content might be changing or the way the content is published, the link, the duration of content as it’s coming in right now. But I think the no matter what, especially with the always on nature of the internet, the two things that help people stand out are consistency and categorization. When I say both of those, consistency is exactly as you think it might be, just the literal ability to keep showing up week after week, month after month, occasionally day after day. We can talk a little bit more about what it means to take a break as a creator because that’s definitely… Creator burnout is a real thing, but consistently showing up is something that is really important and not getting too caught up in your own head of like, “Well this isn’t good enough for that.” Or that procrastination masquerading as perfection. So consistency. I think that’s something that has really has been a hallmark of my content is a consistent output over many years. The other part that is categorization, and I think most people will think of that as true of niching. So the more specific that you can get in your niche, then the easier that it’s going to be for people to resonate with the content that you’re creating. If you’re creating it consistently, then they’re usually going to keep showing up as well. When I say niching or categorization, I’m talking about… I’ll use my content as an example. For years I wasn’t very focused. I did not have a specific categories. I would write some about personal growth and then I would write about productivity and then I would write about marketing and then I would write about working in a startup and then I’d write about whatever. There were five or six things that I was writing consistently, but people didn’t know what to expect when they came to the site. I might do a guest post on a big site about one particular thing and then everybody comes to my site, gets the lead magnet, gets that particular thing, and then I write about something kind of different the next week and they’re like, “I thought I was getting productivity advice and now he’s talking about working at a startup.” There are ways, I will say, the more consistently you publish, the more you can create some variation in your content, but the more focused you can be on your niche. So when I say productivity, it’s not just like, “Here’s how you can be productive.” It’s, “Here’s how you can be productive for only using analog methods.” Like a bullet journal, if anyone is familiar with a bullet journal or other physical checklist style ways of getting things done.
Bjork Ostrom: Sure.
Matt Ragland: Then even below that, and this was something I discovered posting videos to YouTube consistently, it wasn’t just that people were interested in my productivity advice. It wasn’t even just that people were interested in how I was setting up the bullet journal. What they liked about it, one layer lower, is that if you go on YouTube or Pinterest or Instagram and look up bullet journals, they’re usually very artsy, and mine are very simple, almost minimalist.
Bjork Ostrom: Sure.
Matt Ragland: So it wasn’t just productivity, it wasn’t even just bullet journaling, is that this is a very minimalist, easy to set up, doesn’t take your entire day to just get your things in. That became my category, minimalist bullet journaling. That’s how my YouTube channel really started to take off. I’ve continued to kind of apply that method of thinking for new content that I might create or new businesses or services that I’m offering as well.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, interesting. So that combination of focusing on a really specific area and then showing up every day or every week, whatever the cadence is, over a long period of time, that being an identifiable thing, both for you in the success that you’ve had in growing your YouTube channel and following, but also in seeing other people growing a thing, building a thing. The throughline is those two pieces, which I think is really interesting. So you talked about this idea of personal productivity. Have you kind of settled into now what you would consider to be kind of your focus? Because I know that that’s a piece of it. You also talk a lot about or have an expertise in email and have a service for that, which we can talk about. What would your tagline be right now or kind of your elevator pitch for what you focus on right now?
Matt Ragland: It’s funny you ask especially on the heels of the answer that I just gave. Because if you go to my YouTube channel now, you’ll see that I actually haven’t posted two or three months.
Bjork Ostrom: Sure.
Matt Ragland: So not consistent. This is another piece and it’s just understanding the phase of life that you’re in. So after being pretty consistent with YouTube for three, four years this year, and even this is kind of a transition of me going to work on my own, having all the time that I could possibly… All the time that I cared to give to YouTube, I had last year, and realizing that where my talent and where my monetization skill really lies, my uniqueness also is in this email marketing, course development, service provider operational component for a creator business. So I say that as bit of window dressing that my elevator pitch now is I run a email marketing and a creator operations business that specifically focuses on newsletter ghost writing and course development for creators who just want to focus on creating and just want to focus on their core skill of say like me, two or three years ago, if I could have put double the amount of time towards YouTube videos, either to make one video way better than it was or make two videos a week, which by the way, if you’re a YouTuber, I found it to be true, you have to publish twice a week if you really want to grow.
Bjork Ostrom: Sure. Interesting.
Matt Ragland: That’s the pitch and that is the social byline of what I’m doing right now is more focused on creating operational systems for creators to leverage so that they can do more of what they really, really enjoy doing, even if that’s not working as much as they currently are.
Bjork Ostrom: Sure. Yeah, not just in service of doing more work necessarily.
Matt Ragland: Right.
Bjork Ostrom: So talk about that. I think for people who are listening, this will really resonate, the idea that you are a creator, you’re creating really good content in the world. For this audience, it might be publishing to social, it might be a blog. But then there’s also this thing about an email and sending email to people. I think oftentimes, in our world at least, it gets neglected, but it’s such an important avenue to reach people. It’s still so impactful to send an email, whether it be to get people back to your site or to purchase something. So can you talk a little bit about, and it could even be in the space of people who are publishing food and recipe content, how maybe some ways that we can be thinking about email and for the work that you do, kind of how that fits into it, how you would work with a creator?
Matt Ragland: Right. Yeah, absolutely. Because I said I spent almost four years at ConvertKit. Within that, I did account management and I started the migration program that’s pretty popular now. So I got really familiar with all the email tools because I would go into MailChimp, I would go into ActiveCampaign, I would go into Drip, all of them, Constant Contact, and I would move everything into ConvertKit. They still do that. The thing that we do now and the service that we offer is helping busy creators or creators who understand that email is important, or they’ve been told that and they want to believe it. But for whatever reason, and maybe it’s just a technical hurdle that they don’t want to clear, maybe it’s not knowing well what do I put in an email, why would I put something in an email if it’s already on my blog, how do I figure out the publishing schedule. That’s where my team comes in because what we do is take all of that. The goal of the service is to take literally all of that off of your hands. So we take that back catalog of content that a creator has often spent years putting together, and especially for something like food and recipes, literally all evergreen. Because a great recipe, we all have those recipe boxes. Families are like, “Doesn’t matter when this was written down.”
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, it’s still awesome.
Matt Ragland: This is still a banger. So that’s one of the things that I do love about food and recipes is that it always works. So just as an example, I really would, one of the things that we do is we help creators categorize content. So we’ve talked about me and my productivity time. I haven’t done anything personally related to productivity in terms of content in months now. But because I spent four years doing weekly content and having newsletters and having courses, my team now takes those basically 300 pieces of content that I have in the back catalog and they’re like, “Okay, this month is going to be about time management. This month is going to be about goal setting.” They take all of that and they put it into… They basically reinterpret it for email.
Bjork Ostrom: Sure.
Matt Ragland: So that’s one example. You can tackle it in two ways. You can either say, “This month is all going to be about meal planning or this month is going to be about a particular type of food.” Maybe it’s a certain kind of dish, maybe it’s like grilling season. It could be recipes, it could be techniques, it could be tools. We all love our gadgets no matter what industry that we’re in. So we look at the relevant content to that topic category and then we say, “Okay, we’re going to get to work.” Then usually after, well, after two weeks, we have a weekly email that’s drafted. You as the client, the creator gets to review everything and make any little adjustments or tweaks. But usually those are pretty minimal because we’re taking something that you’ve already said.
Bjork Ostrom: Sure.
Matt Ragland: And done in the past. Then this is the other part of it, and where our service, there are two ways that I believe our service helps a creator besides just thinking, “Oh, I’m going to hire a ghost writer.” That’s still very helpful. But what we do again is we help you understand your content categories and publishing cadence.
Bjork Ostrom: Sure.
Matt Ragland: So we do all that research month to month, and then there is the writing and the editing. But then even after the review period, we take care of everything and Convertkit as well.
Bjork Ostrom: Sure.
Matt Ragland: Because often, again, if you just hire a ghost writer, it’s like, “Okay, well, email’s done. Do you know how to get into Convertkit?” The ghost writer’s like, “No, that’s not part of my thing.” I’ve seen this many, many times, I’ve done this at times before myself of I might have something that I had written for me, but I’m like, “Yeah, I didn’t get around to putting it in.” There are hoops to jump through, and whether you know how to jump through those hoops or not, it’s often a matter of prioritization and where do I have fun as a creator, it should have that, and what keeps the lights on? So it’s like I know that by publishing on social, publishing on YouTube or putting this on my blog that I’m going to have money come in. If I spend time on email, maybe I don’t feel as comfortable and confident in that, so I’m just going to go where I know I can already get money or engagement, audience. But I’ll say that our course customers, and this just goes for anyone, I’m using a lot of the framing around these are our clients, but working at ConvertKit, working at Podia, I say this over and over and over again is the people who send the most consistent email newsletters almost always do the best on their courses because people are used to hearing from them. Email is just such a better sales channel than anything else by far. Because you think that even an average, an average open rate is probably 30%. Most people if they’re sending consistently and cleaning their list of inactives, you can get to 40 or even 50% on open rates. I haven’t looked at it in a while, but if you go and look at what’s the visibility of a post on Instagram, a tweet, a LinkedIn post, I mean, is it 5%?
Bjork Ostrom: Sure. Yeah.
Matt Ragland: It’s not a lot. So there is some virality that you can find. We can talk about social because I’m not, this sounds funny, I’m not anti-social.
Bjork Ostrom: Sure, I get what you’re saying. Yeah.
Matt Ragland: I think actually it’s been underappreciated now by some content creators. They’re like, “I’m not going to be on social at all.” Well, that can work, but you need to already. You need to have something. So there is something really important top of funnel that happens with social, but when it comes to deep engagement and eventually sales, it’s often email that will convert better than anything else.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. We’ve seen that recently, even with Pinch of Yum, if we’re doing something, meal plan, whatever it might be, it’s like, “Oh, this is why it’s so nice to have a email list.” For whatever reason, you hear it, but people respond differently when it’s email versus a social post or whatever it might be. A couple things that you said that I think would be worth revisiting, one of the things you talked about is looking at past content and kind of reinterpreting it for email. If people are thinking about doing that with their own content, what is it that they actually should be reinterpreting? What are you tweaking or changing to make it more email format versus blog post or article format?
Matt Ragland: Yeah. It’s a great question. I think a lot of this comes from when were people writing, because the way that a lot of writing has evolved is a lot faster, a lot shorter. A paragraph is no longer four or five sentences. It’s two or three.
Bjork Ostrom: Sure.
Matt Ragland: A lot more like one sentence. The other part of it is that, unsurprisingly, mobile email viewing has risen every single year. I expect it. So you think about what’s the difference if I was writing a blog five years ago, or longer, but if I was writing a blog five years ago, I was probably writing a lot more like maybe I was taught how to do in college.
Bjork Ostrom: Sure.
Matt Ragland: Or maybe in journalism school. But now it’s a lot more writing as sales copy. It’s just sales copy everywhere.
Bjork Ostrom: So it’s shorter. You’re not having long paragraphs.
Matt Ragland: Yeah, it’s shorter, it’s punchier.
Bjork Ostrom: It’s skimmable.
Matt Ragland: Yeah. Very skimmable, lots of subheadings to clarify or bring attention to main points or sections. Again, not everything is like that that has to be basically reformatted. But the other parts are the way that media behaves in email is much different.
Bjork Ostrom: Sure.
Matt Ragland: You can’t put GIFs, or GIFs if that’s your thing, but you can’t put videos, you can’t put audio. You can link to them. But the other thing that I found that I believe is probably one of the more important pieces is that most emails in addition to the formatting just being shorter and snappier in terms of paragraph to paragraph is the emails themselves are often shorter as well.
Bjork Ostrom: Sure.
Matt Ragland: So we can use 500 words as a baseline, and sometimes they’re shorter, sometimes they’re longer, but 500 is kind of the median length of an email. Even that sometimes can feel a little long.
Bjork Ostrom: Sure.
Matt Ragland: So for a blog post that three, four, five years ago, ah, blog posts probably should be around 1,000, 1,500 words. Even that, remembering my old blogging days, feels a little short. If you have a 2,000 word blog post, you should probably look at that more as how can I break this up into four weekly emails instead.
Bjork Ostrom: Sure.
Matt Ragland: You’re going to have to add some text in that kind of sets it up and wraps it up at the beginning of end of each email. I would definitely look at how can you put your content into buckets or batches as well?
Bjork Ostrom: What do you mean by that?
Matt Ragland: So we were talking about in terms of categories. Again, for me, so instead of saying I’m going to do a week on time management and then next week’s going to be about goal setting and then next week’s going to be about idea systems, it’s like a whole month is going to be on idea systems, developing ideas and taking…
Bjork Ostrom: This is for your email list? Like you’re saying, “Hey, we’re going to email people about this specific subject for this specific month.” Do you find people then mirroring that on their blog and on social?
Matt Ragland: Not all the time. With some of our clients, and just speaking from that perspective right now, if they’re far out enough ahead on their content then… End of year is coming up so a lot of people have ideas about what they want to do for ending the year and then starting the new year. So stuff like that is a little bit easier, but it’s not always the case. What I’m also finding is a lot of our clients are doing less and less on their website, right?
Bjork Ostrom: Sure.
Matt Ragland: This kind of ties back into how we’re talking about not being antisocial is that their top of funnel is some type of public channel. So trying to get somebody to go to your website is not, unless you’re super dialed into SEO and you’re awesome at SEO, then I would still lean on being awesome at SEO. But most people are not awesome at SEO. I wouldn’t say I’m awesome at SEO. But for most people, what you want to do is try and capture as many eyeballs and attention on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, YouTube, whatever those top… You could even add Quora and Medium to that in a sense. But you’re trying to capture as many public eyeballs and attention as you can and then making the only CTA…
Bjork Ostrom: Call to action, for those who aren’t familiar. So when you say top of funnel, it’s like what is the first interaction that you have with people. It’s probably going to be the broadest, the most people are going to be there. Then from that, you want to have a CTA, call to action, to take the next step. You were saying you want that to be to your email usually to email. It’s not like you’re trying to sell something in a call to action. It’s just like, “Hey, here’s a thing that you can sign up for.” So I think in our world it would probably be Instagram. Maybe there’d be some people who are really good at TikTok and have gotten traction there. Then probably blog posts content. Still in this world, there’s a lot of people who have search traffic, are looking for search traffic. So kind of those three pieces.
Matt Ragland: Yeah, absolutely.
Bjork Ostrom: I think the mindset change potentially could be on social instead of having a call to action to, “Hey, go look at this post.” Have the call to action be, “Hey, sign up for this, the Pinch of Yum email list.” I think even for myself when I think of what we do for Pinch of Yum, it’s like we could be doing a better job of that. We just direct people to the site, but why not have our call to action at Pinch of Yum be email list signup?”
Matt Ragland: Right. This feels a little scary and this kind of goes back to why people struggle to niche down further and further. We don’t just do newsletters for anyone.
Bjork Ostrom: Sure.
Matt Ragland: When we do newsletters, we do them a very specific way. Because we do newsletters a very specific way, we have to have a very specific type of customer. If you want a bunch of revisions back and forth, not our thing. But when it comes to getting people on your email list, put a flag in the ground about what you want to be for them that they can either say yes or no, that isn’t for me. Because you want the people that are signing up to your email list to be the people that are really excited about this specific thing that you’re doing. They will be more engaged, they’ll be more likely to buy. Also to your point, so that’s just part of the call to action itself, but the other mistake, and this goes for food bloggers, this goes for everyone, is giving people either a lack of call to action, an unclear call to action, or too many calls to action. So that would be, in this example, if you have a Linktree page or a link page where it’s like they click on this in your Instagram bio and then they see subscribe to my YouTube and visit me on TikTok. The email list is on there, but it’s one of several options. I’ll say there’s nothing wrong with that if your goal is to maximize the number of channels that people have some awareness of you on. But I will still be like, “If that’s your strategy or if that’s just what you’re doing, don’t be surprised when your email list doesn’t grow.” Because email lists are not often immediate and you can do an automatic follow-up, which you should do, whether that’s kind of a meal plan or recipe list, automatic PDF download, or over the next five days we’re going to do this particular type of recipe together. Those both still work. I think they still work very effectively. Not sure if you’ve seen anything different but-
Bjork Ostrom: Sure. When you say automatic follow-up, that means somebody signs up and they automatically get something sent to them?
Matt Ragland: Right. I’m very familiar with ConvertKit obviously, so this would be an automated sequence email.
Bjork Ostrom: Sure.
Matt Ragland: So the trigger looks like… Just visualize it with me, everybody. The trigger is that they signed up on this call to action landing page. That triggers that. The sequence sends an email immediately. We’ve all gotten these. Thank you for signing up here. Here’s your free download for this recipe list. If you want, after that it starts saying, “Over the next five days, I’m going to explain to you how to do each of these recipes.”
Bjork Ostrom: Sure, yeah. I think that would be something that would be worth talking about because it’s kind of two different categories. It sounds like when you’re talking about a newsletter, are you primarily focused on broadcast? Meaning it’s not something that’s a part of a sequence or part of a drip sequence. It’s just one time it’s sent out at this specific period for whoever’s on the email list at that time?
Matt Ragland: Yeah. So I’m glad you made that distinction because those are two different things. A broadcast is an email that goes out this time, this day to these people and then it’s not used any other time. But I’ll come back to that. A sequence is something that it’s almost like as long as there’s still someone hitting the trigger that makes the action kickoff, it’s going to keep on running. It’s like having any of the hundreds of subscriptions it feels like we have now. It’s like as long as you keep putting money in the Netflix account, they’re going to keep sending movies to your Netflix account. You could also think of it like a broadcast is like getting a letter in the mail and a sequence is like getting a magazine in the mail.
Bjork Ostrom: Sure.
Matt Ragland: It’s like I’m just going to keep getting this because I continue to feed the trigger.
Bjork Ostrom: The other thing that’s worth mentioning within that is with a sequence, usually, let’s say it’s a onboarding sequence, if somebody signs up, every single person who signs up is going to get that sequence. Whereas if you’re sending out a broadcast email, if you sent it last week, if somebody signs up today, they’re not going to get it because it went out last week.
Matt Ragland: Right, exactly.
Bjork Ostrom: So what would be the downside? Let’s say in our world, we’re talking about recipes, we talked about how nice it is because they’re evergreen, what would be the downside of just instead of a newsletter, you’re just building the world’s longest sequence?
Matt Ragland: Yeah. So we do that for a couple of clients. It’s a good point to make. One of the things that we’ll often do is, and this is a benefit to batching different email topics together, is when we spend four to six emails talking about barbecue, or we spend four to six emails talking about breakfast foods, then we can then turn those emails, which for the first time they go out are perfectly good to use as broadcast. They go out. They fulfill that need. But what we can then do is turn those batches into sequences for new people as they start to join again.
Bjork Ostrom: Sure.
Matt Ragland: So maybe for example, if you can visualize this, that we do a breakfast batch and then four to six emails on that. Those get turned into a sequence. Then six months from now, we’re writing about whatever, sandwiches for kids at school and say, “This works really well if they’ve had or if they really like this type of breakfast. If you want to get our breakfast series, click here.” This is getting a little bit more nerdy into ConvertKit or just automations in general. But basically what you can do is when they click, I want to know more about breakfast, who doesn’t? It starts that sequence that were emails that went out six months ago, but for someone that’s clicking on that, it’s very unlikely to be honest that they’ve seen those emails. So you can use that two ways. You can use it in broadcast in the future to say, “Hey, you want to get this breakfast series?”
Bjork Ostrom: Sure.
Matt Ragland: You can also then set up a little mini funnel sure that you have another call to action, another landing page. You want to get my popular breakfast series, just enter your email here. So if you think of it this way, we’re repurposing content that’s already on your blog or social channels. We’re repurposing that content as a broadcast newsletter, but then we get to repurpose and we get to repurpose it again as a sequence that can then be used in infinite number of times.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, that’s awesome. One of the things that I think is so great about this, and I think a lot about it as it relates to the content that we’re producing in the worlds is how do we syndicate our content? How do we get it to other places? Because what we can think is like, “hey, we publish to the blog. Everybody knows the blog. People come to the blog.” In our world, that’s what it would be. Or I publish this to Instagram, people probably saw it. But it’s like people are so scattered, their attention is in all different places. For the most part, people live in certain ecosystems, whether that be they’re going to a blog or email or on a certain social platform. So as much as we can syndicate that, push it to all of those different places, we’re going to be better off because of it. As we come to the end here, I’m curious to know your advice for people who haven’t done email, period, or haven’t done it well, how do they get started and what are some of the first things that they can be doing?
Matt Ragland: Say if you do have a site, you have content, you’ve been in the content game, then the first thing that I would do is if you haven’t signed up for an email provider like ConvertKit, sign up for ConvertKit, there’s even a free plan up to a thousand subscribers. If you’re serious about it, then I would start talking about your email list in every piece of content that you put out. I would make it your sole focus minimum for 30 days, but probably more like three months or a hundred days and just see if all you’re doing is telling people that you have an email list now. I would even go as so far as to say if you’re not even sending emails, if all you do is that kind of PDF automated followup reply and just said, “Hey.” You don’t even have to promise a newsletter. Be like, “Hey, sign up to my email list. I occasionally send out special recipes and series that you can’t get anywhere else.” Now that’s maybe a half truth, but the way that you format it isn’t available anywhere else.
Bjork Ostrom: Sure.
Matt Ragland: that’s often what is valuable in email is that you can be a really good curator. But sign up for an email provider. Put a form on your website and then just talk about it literally everywhere and make it your sole focus. If you have content, then just literally do what we already talked about. Go find your 10 most popular posts or recipes, whatever, from the past and just send those out. Maybe update the content a little bit if you want, or if some of the dates are inaccurate now, then just change some of those. But literally, if you have content, then just start sending slightly reinterpreted, reformatted versions of that content. I would focus on it being shorter and punchier. You could even say, “Hey, here’s the short version. If you want to see the whole thing along with videos and blah blah blah, click and go to the post.” But what you’re doing there is because this is another piece for people who have created a lot of content, even new people who go to your site, if you got good SEO traffic and got people to land on your site, and let’s be honest, how many pages are they clicking through? That’s not a lot. Look at your bounce rate or number of pages per session. So when you capture that email, you then have the opportunity to say, “Hey, I’m glad you’re here. These are the 10 best recipes.” You can start to guide people that way. If you’re totally brand new and you don’t have any of this, then this is where I would say go back to social.
Bjork Ostrom: Sure.
Matt Ragland: Go back to social Instagram, TikTok, especially for food and recipes. But then follow that advice of having one page that only goes to the email call to action. Then what I would still do is, especially since Instagram and TikTok are obviously very visual, I would then use the email to tell kind of a behind-the-scenes or a deeper story about the videos that you’ve been making. It can still be basically the same stuff, but you’re just giving people… You’re telling a little bit more of a story maybe and you’re giving a couple extra points of context like, “Hey, when I was doing this.” This is where you can start to show more of yourself. My wife will do this. She’s like, “I did this bone broth recipe and you saw this on TikTok and it looked really awesome.” But then also my kid has a runny nose and people are going to be like, “Oh yeah.” Because I mean, we talk about this all the time. You put something on Instagram, this goes for all of social media and most of the internet, and it looks awesome. The house is a disaster right outside of this cheese plate that we put together.
Bjork Ostrom: Right, right.
Matt Ragland: The cheese plate looks great, but everything is cast aside.
Bjork Ostrom: Everything else. Yeah.
Matt Ragland: That’s something that maybe you’re not going to do as much on your main social platform, but people do like that stuff.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, that’s great.
Matt Ragland: Having a behind the scenes is a good place for email also.
Bjork Ostrom: That’s awesome. Yeah, appreciate that. Last thing, Matt, I’m sure people will hear this and they’ll be like, “Love the idea of it, but I don’t want to do it.” You have a service for that. You’ve referenced a couple times. If people want to connect with you to hear more about that, what’s the best way to do that?
Matt Ragland: I just go to yourweekly.email and that’ll take you right to the information page. You’ll learn everything about the service. You’ll see some samples that are on there. Yeah, we’d love to at least have a conversation and see if it could be a fit or even just encourage you to start email if that’s something you’re excited about on your own.
Bjork Ostrom: Awesome. Matt, thanks so much for coming on.
Matt Ragland: Thanks, Bjork.
Leslie Jeon: Hello, hello. Leslie here from the Food Blogger Pro team. Thank you so much for tuning into this episode of the podcast. We really hope that you enjoyed it. Before we sign off, I wanted to give you a quick heads up about all of the exciting content we have coming to Food Blogger Pro in the month of December. So all of this content will be available exclusively for Food Blogger Pro members. So if you’re not a member and you want to potentially sign up or learn more, you can head to foodbloggerpro.com/join to do that.
Leslie Jeon: But first things first, we have an exciting live Q&A coming on December 7th, and it’s an ask Pinch of Yum anything Q&A. So Bjork is going to be joined by Lindsay and Jenna, the general manager of Pinch of Yum, and they’re going to answer all of your questions about how Pinch of Yum works behind the scenes. So maybe you’re wondering how they write their posts or how they shoot their reels for Instagram. You can ask all of those questions in the Q&A. So if you’re a Food Blogger Pro member and you want to tune in, you can head to the live page on Food Blogger Pro to add it to your calendar and also ask a question ahead of time.
Leslie Jeon: Then on December 15th, we’re going to be sharing a brand new quick win video about the best photo size for food blogs. So Alexa’s recording this one and it’s going to have all of our best tips and tricks for correctly sizing your images as well as compressing them when you upload them to your blog. So it’s going to be a great video with all the information that you need to know about photo sizes. So stay tuned for that.
Leslie Jeon: Then aside from that, you can look forward to new blog posts, new podcast episodes in the month of December as well. It’s a bit of a lighter content month for us because the team will be taking a much-deserved holiday break towards the end of December and we hope that you all get time to relax and rejuvenate as well. So like I mentioned, this content will be available exclusively for Food Blogger Pro members. If you want to join and get insta access to all of our courses, our forum, our deals and discounts and these new resources once they go live, you can head to foodbloggerpro.com/join to learn more. That’s it for today’s episode though. Thanks again for tuning in and until next time, make it a great week.